EuroMix: collaborating in risk assessment

Photo of  food and non food consumer products

We are exposed to chemical substances on a daily basis, for example because residues of pesticides may be present in our food or because we are exposed to chemical substances via the skin through the use of cosmetics and skincare products, cleaning products or other household products. It is also possible that we inhale these substances at home, in transit or in our work situation. These substances can be injurious to health, which is why these are properly tested before their use is permitted. The test results will be used in safety assessment, which includes large safety margins to ensure a high level of protection.In daily life, we ingest a variety of these substances simultaneously. So far, it has been impossible to include mixture effects of these substances in the chemical safety assessment. The European EuroMix project will provide for this by setting up a new test and risk assessment strategy. The innovative testing, will be based on computational toxicology, cell lines and modelling approaches. The test results, data and models will be linked in a coherent and openly available web-based platform. RIVM coordinates EuroMix.

Bundling of European expertise

EuroMix builds on a former European project, the ACROPOLIS project, which was also coordinated by RIVM. ACROPOLIS was focused on the exposure to pesticides only, while EuroMix, which runs from 2015 until 2019, goes beyond this. In a European context, it focuses on developing a method (model) that is able to calculate the health risks of all injurious substances that have the same effect on the body.On 20 and 21 May 2015, Euromix started in Bilthoven. 22 partners from 16 European countries are involved in the project. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the American government (US-EPA) participate in EuroMix also, as a result of which the new assessment method is adapted worldwide.

Improved chemical safety assessment, fewer animal experiments

What about the risks if consumers ingest various chemical substances simultaneously? Do they reinforce one another in their harmful effect (synergism) or, conversely, decrease it (antagonsim)? Much is unclear about this, but EuroMix is initiating a search into this. Developing such a test and risk assessment strategy is new and scientifically interesting. The involvement of this number of parties and the social significance of fewer animal experiments make it even more fascinating.In the future, the results of this project can be used to better assess the risk of exposure to various substances, requiring fewer animal experiments in the future.After the project, the model developed and the test strategy will be made available to the entire European Union, allowing each of the member states to make their own calculations. In order to facilitate this, training courses in the use of the model and the measuring techniques used will be provided. 

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